Thursday, 9 December 2010

Solo Rules

I recently discovered the FUBAR ruleset and had a look at what people were doing with it on the Yahoo group. I was really impressed with Craig Cartmell's idea of writing a free, flexible, one page set of rules. Brilliant!

As the various contributors to the Yahoo group demonstrate, the first thing a nerd wants to do with these rules is to mod them to suit their own taste. This got me thinking about finally writing down my own set of rules specifically for solo gaming.

I'd come up with various ways to solo existing 2 players games but I think the solo game is a different design challenge to the 2-player game. I don't think "Bolt ons" are a good solution.

Having made several false starts on this in the past, I made a more determined attempt to settle on what the rules were setting out to achieve before I began. This helps stop sidetracking or giving up based on tangential ideas. Firstly, these rules were going to be for me and my requirements which are as follows:

  • Skirmish level. A game of shootouts, not wars.
  • Should have fast but enjoyable rules for customizing forces.
  • Needs to be playable in a very small area (half the reason I started into 15mm at all).
  • Needs to have as little book keeping as possible- Preferably none.
  • Should have all information needed to play either on QRS cards or counters.
  • As a solo game, should provide moments of suspense and surprise..The game should be unpredictable.
  • Be easy to wrap up into short sessions.

The last game I played was the one I posted here a few months ago, using CR. There are a lot of things I love about CR: Single stat characters! Simple but open ended task resolution! Narrative campaigning! Unpredictable turn sequence!

...But also a lot of things I don't like or require too much referring to a chart during play. Overall, I think the concepts in the THW rules are absolutely revolutionary.. But the rules themselves make them hard to use. In short, I have to work too hard to play this great game.

What I have so far is in brief:
"A points-free, hex based FUBAR with an enemy reaction system, player special abilities, action point gambling all using sigle D6 rolls."
As always, more later.. Presuming I don't get sidetracked one again, which is pretty much an even bet.


  1. I look forward to seeing what you come up with for this. Lately Im inclined towards trying some solo games myself.

  2. I'm looking forward to it as well, but hex-based? Not open movement?

  3. I hate measuring and determining LOS.. So am a fan of either area movement (hexes) or unmeasured linear movement (Crossfire, And One For All).
    I've still got my zuzzy mat and normal terrain but I'd like to give modular hexes a go.

  4. Spacejacker,

    Here are my notes for FUBAR solo play... maybe they will help inspire you to something more integrated:

    Instant Opponents
    Create a numbered series of cards. Each card will correspond to a unit, vehicle, gigantic monster, or whatever would normally make an activation roll. When it is time for the Instant Opponent to activate its army’s units, shuffle the deck draw a card. The unit corresponding to the drawn card attempts an activation roll. If successful, roll a D6 and consult the Action charts below.

    Infantry/Creature/Alien/Whatever moves on its own - D6 Roll:
    1 - Walk action to nearest cover and take On Guard action. Will target first enemy that moves into line of fire
    2-4 - Walk toward nearest enemy (or toward mission objective) and shoot
    5 - Duck & Weave action to nearest cover. If in cover, Aimed Shoot action at nearest enemy target
    6 - Assault action to closest enemy

    Vehicles/Flyers/Whatever moves with an engine - D6 roll:
    1-4 - Move toward nearest enemy or mission objective and shoot one weapon
    5-6 - Remain stationary and fire all weapons toward nearest enemy (or enemies)

    If an Instant unit initiated the attack, it will always take casualties. If the unit was fired upon, it will take up to its maximum number of units as being suppressed.

  5. Those are great, really slick. My "Gut Check"system is similar but is geared towards heroes vs mooks a bit like FUBAR FPS. The enemy models act according to a stat test (the titular "gut check") that governs what they do based on tactical situation, supression counters etc. It sounds complex but all works off a single d6 roll and a chart.

    I'm very close to finalizing the rules, just need some time to playtest and type them up properly. I', going to make a page for the rues on this blog and link to a live document via a filehosting site.